Daily Archives: December 12, 2010

White men can run

“Let’s start with the biological differences in sports, which is something almost everyone observes. Jon Entine’s recent book Taboo: Why Black Athletes Dominate Sports and Why We Are Afraid to Talk About It, addresses the old cliché that “White men can’t jump” (and the new one that Oriental men jump even less well). Entine shows that in sports, it is Black men and women who can sky! And yet, as the data also show, it is mainly Blacks of West African descent who excel at running over short distances, while Blacks of East African descent – from Kenya and Ethiopia – excel at marathon running over long distances. These differences between East and West Africans show that taking an average can sometimes gloss over important distinctions. Still, Blacks from both East and West Africa excel at one or another kind of running. In sports, Blacks as a group, have a genetic advantage. “ J Phillipe Rushton http://theoccidentalquarterly.com/images/jpr21-chart1.jpg

The idea that blacks are inherently more athletic than whites  (and even more so than Asians)   is widely  accepted as true even in academic circles which deal with racial difference.  People look at the finals of track events at the Olympics and see a disproportionate number of blacks, especially in the sprint events, and conclude that this correlation between race and  athletics winners proves the case for black athletic supremacy. The problem with this conclusion is that it is merely a correlation and a correlation which has not been subjected to rigorous examination.

There are good reasons to suspect  that  innate  black athletic  advantage  does not exist.  The 800 and 1500 metres events  were dominated  in the late nineteen seventies and eighties by whites such as Seb Coe, Steve Ovett and Steve Cram. Their times look good today.  – Coe’s 800 metre record only went a few years ago.  The current Olympic 400 metres champion is the  white man Jeremy Warriner. The 200 metres at the  Sydney Olympics was won by a white man  the Greek Kostas Kenteris. When the black Michael Johnson (arguably  the greatest track athlete of the past  half century) won the 400 metres in the Atlanta Olympics he was followed home in second by the white Roger Black.

If whites can  compete  successfully as the people mentioned above competed , clearly whites are not genetically incapable of beating even the best black athletes. Of course,  there is still the question of whether one race is on average more naturally endowed with  athletic ability than others,  but if  there are substantial  numbers of whites who win  at the highest level and set times which blacks do not beat either at all or by much, then  it is reasonable to question  whether whites are inherently inferior as athletes. The starting point for such questioning is  the numbers participating in athletics in the various disciplines and their racial and class distribution.

Fifty years ago most  Olympic  track winners  were white. Then as decolonisation took place  and multiculturalism gripped  hold of  places such as the USA and Britain, more and more black athletes entered  track athletics. They began to dominate  the  sprints, then   the longer distances. The question is, did blacks  begin to dominate because  they were inherently superior to whites or because the number of whites taking up track athletics was  far fewer than the number of blacks doing so?  An analysis of overall numbers  is required.  I  have been unable to identify such an analysis.

Then there is the question of class. Athletics has  the reputation of being a largely middleclass pursuit for whites in the West, while black athletes are perceived as coming from poorer backgrounds. If these perceptions are correct,  the white athletes are being drawn from a much smaller population. An analysis of  the class of athletes is  required. Again, no such analysis appears to exist.

During the time of the  Soviet Union those countries which came  within the European Communist bloc were concerned with winning as many medals as possible. This pushed them to concentrate on the events which were less competitive and more  susceptible to coaching. These were the field events such as the javelin and long-jump. This  potentially reduced the number of white athletes  available to compete in track events.

Athletic scholarships  may also have a role in promoting  black athletes, especially in the USA. Political correctness  may have caused these to be given to blacks disproportionately. An analysis of  how scholarships are awarded, for example, are they formally or informally reserved for blacks? Similar exercises are needed for  charities who make awards to athletes and for bodies which dispense taxpayer funded aid to athletes.

If a human activity becomes dominated by one  race,  ethnic group or class, there is a tendency  for those outside  whatever the group it is to cease trying to engage in the activity.  If  blacks have done disproportionately well in  sprinting  over the past forty years, whites will tend to drop the idea of even trying to enter competitive sprinting.

Then there is the question of racial admixture. Many top “black” athletes are of mixed white/black parentage. Why should that be if blacks have an innate advantage?

That blacks do not all excel in the same type of  events is a pointer to a cultural rather than a genetic reason for  their disproportionate success in recent decades. The idea that blacks from the West Coast  of Africa have one advantage and blacks from the East Coast another  is rather odd bearing in mind the size of Africa and the racial diversity found there. It would make sense to say this local population group had this advantage and another that advantage if the groups were isolated (this might be the explanation for the island of Jamaica‘s remarkable record of producing great sprinters) , but  it stretches credulity to believe the entire continent below the Sahara  is divided by different types of  genetic athletic advantage, especially as it is known that there have been in historic times large scale movements of people  who originated in West  and central Africa to Southern and Eastern Africa (the Bantu peoples).

The fact that East Africans shine in middle distance events  is plausibly  a consequence of the fact that Kenyan  government put considerable resources into promoting  middle distance running after the success of Kip Keino.  It is noteworthy that the rest of East Africa has not produced an army of  such athletes and that many of the outstanding runners of the past ten years have not be East Africans but north Africans who are racially very different. .

Even the claim that most top black sprinters  come from West Africa is debatable. Slaves were taken from deep into the heart  of Africa. Most of the black top sprinters come from the USA or the Caribbean.. Many have a white admixture. Very few West Coast Africans are top sprinters, despite large numbers of West Coast Africans  who have emigrated to the West.

Finally, there is the  question of drugs. Many sprinters have tested positive for drugs  in the past thirty years. Most of those have been black, an unsurprising fact because most  top sprinters  have been black during that period. Many others have provided tests which suggested drug use without being sufficiently high to fail a drug test, for example, Carl Lewis and Linford Christy..  The physiques  of most black sprinters in the past twenty years in particular have looked suspiciously like those of bodybuilders, a group which is notorious  for using drugs such as steroids. Unless the truth about drug use in the period of black sprinting ascendancy  is known, and it probably never will be,  it is difficult to assess exactly what is the natural athletic ability of a runner.

The question of alleged black athletic ability due to innate causes is of general interest because it goes directty against the liberal bigot claim that innate behavioural differences between races and sexes  are at best minimal and at worst non-existent. The fact that  liberals  are so willing to breach their supposed golden ideological rule demonstrates that it is not a rule based on any solid belief let alone being factually correct,  but merely propaganda.  That the claim  should remained untested by serious academic research is disturbing.

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